Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has stated that the motion to establish an anticorruption committee to investigate conflict of interest and federal contracting will be treated as a confidence vote, Global News reports.
The call to establish the committee comes as the Liberals continue to filibuster committees investigating the WE Charity scandal. The committee would be dominated by opposition party members and would be granted the ability to call witnesses from the government and subpoena documents from Trudeau and his family.
Pressure to establish the committee has risen as more revelations regarding the WE scandal enter the public eye. It was reported on Monday that the Trudeau family received over $427,000 in payments and amenities from WE Charity. The scandal initially surfaced when the government offered a no-bid contract to WE Charity even as cabinet members and the Prime Minister himself had conflicting familial ties to the organization.
According to Liberal House Leader Pablo Rodriguez, "they are saying the government is corrupt, and that means they don’t have confidence in the government,” Blacklocks Reporter has reported. When asked if the government would really be interested in triggering an election during a pandemic to prevent parliament from overseeing federal contracting, Rodriguez said that “the debate has nothing to do with that.”
The Liberals have argued that the committee would be wasting government time and resources when it should instead be dealing with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Conservative Party Leader Erin O'Toole argued “it is the duty of the opposition to stand up for Canadians when their own government is busier filling the pockets of supporters that transferring health funds to the provinces.”
The Bloc Quebecois has already announced that they will vote in favour of establishing an anticorruption committee, while NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh is yet to make a final decision on the matter.
Singh has described the Conservative motion as "over the top" while criticizing the Liberals' insistence that the motion should be treated as a confidence vote as "absurd" and "a farce." He also criticized the demand from the Liberals that the committee be chaired by a Liberal MP.
“We want to know what the Prime Minister and the Liberal government have done, and there’s a lot of unanswered questions,” said Singh. “I don’t understand how he can justify going to people and plunging this country into an election over an Opposition Day motion about a committee.”
NDP politicians have stated that they are willing to negotiate with the Prime Minister on the establishment of the committee, but assured that it will indeed be established. "We are going to get that committee one way or another," insisted NDP ethics critic Charlie Angus.
The opposition does not necessarily require support from the NDP to establish the committee, however. If the NDP chooses to abstain from the vote, the opposition only needs the support of the Green Party or the two sitting independent MPs, both of whom are former Liberals.
As for whether the NDP will ultimately join the opposition in voting in favour of the Conservative motion to establish the committee, Angus said "stay tuned." A vote is expected on Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.